We joined an amazing church in Deerfield Beach, FL for their Wednesday night meeting, during which we read through the 4th chapter of Ephesians together. It is always so neat to see how God can so easily instruct us when we do nothing more than sitting down to purposefully put aside all our other plans and distractions and just read His Word.
As we read, I just had some neat thoughts, which I thought was a good opportunity to to write a blog post, after being a bit negligent (and BUSY) this past year!
I love how, throughout this chapter of Ephesians, Paul emphasizes in several different ways the reality that we were not created to be loners; we are all parts of the same body, and must work together, and think of the other members before we think of ourselves.
One part of a verse really stuck out to me the most, which says, “….for we are members of one another.” (v.25b)
Members of one another. This should mean several things to us.
1.) We belong to each other. We aren’t here to further ourselves and our own passions. We are here to support the body in its entirety in its mission to rescue the lost, and share the greatness of Jesus with the world! We must not be looking at ourselves and our mission, thinking, “Who is going to come support me? Because what I am doing is obviously the most important.” No – we are called to assess our giftings (which Paul also touches on in vs. 11) and abilities (sometimes this means nothing more than a pair of willing hands, and a good attitude) and look around us and think, “How can I lift up those around me who are serving the Lord? How can I support this pastor, and make him more successful in his ministry? How can I make myself more available to advance the work of the Lord in this area? Who is struggling in their service to the Lord, and needs encouragement today?” We need to make ourselves available for the needs of the other members of this body of Christ. Our lives are not our own. And when we make ourselves available for the use and support of the rest of the body, we are serving the Lord. And, if you happen to be one of those who does have a position that is seen as “higher”by others, these positions are never given to us because we are awesome, or so we can promote our own plans, or show people how amazing we are. These positions in higher spots are given to us so we can pull others up, as the header photo for this post depicts so well. It is not so we can be the most important person around, or the closest person to Jesus, but so we can draw those around us up higher, and then lift them up to be higher than ourselves.
2.) Also, this reminds us that we have to be together to “work”. It can be tempting, when you don’t get along with someone, to say, “I’m outta here! I’m going to go out and start my own ministry somewhere, because I just want to be on my own now.” Or, “I’m going to go work with someone else who has the same gifting as me. They’ll understand me better!” But as Paul admonishes here, we NEED each other. Where would we be with only prophets in the church? Where would we be without them, and the admonitions they give, or the vision they cast? Where would we be with only evangelists, and no one to shepherd the young lambs, or protect them from harm? Each one of us has a job we have been called to do, but not one is more important than the other! Without each gifting that God has bestowed, there is a distinct hole. Yes, often God calls people to go out and become missionaries on their own, blazing new paths as they seek out the lost….but His Body — the ones who are called by their name, and have taken hold of His salvation — needs all its members to continue on, and to thrive, and learn to truly walk in step with our Shepherd King. God made us to need each other, the same way a husband and wife need each other, and compliment each other; one family, but different members with different roles that work together to make something beautiful and sacred.
Ah, this beautiful, messy, imperfect family….yes, this is the Body of Christ….and we are being built up into a spotless Bride for the King! Hallelujah! Lets keep pulling, lifting, and otherwise encouraging each other to attain this high and beautiful calling!